Charmed Jennings faces defining day

Keaton Jennings displayed a touch of good fortune on day three of this third Test against South Africa that would have made a cat proud.

Luck with Jennings as Cook cops a beauty

The England opener might not have had the full complement of nine lives as he toughed out an innings of survival to reach the premature rain-induced close unbeaten on 34.

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He did pretty well, though, to gain five lives as he fought gamely for his Test future following a tortured series so far against South Africa.

Jennings, playing just his fifth Test, had averaged 8.8 in the series coming into England’s second innings at The Oval.

His position as Alastair Cook’s 11th opening partner in just under five years is still under the microscope.

Jennings twice inside edged Philander to the fine leg boundary // Getty

Yet he has a chance now of keeping his place for next week’s fourth and final Test at Old Trafford if he can kick on and post a significant score on the fourth day of this match.

England, leading by 252 with nine wickets in hand, would be delighted if Jennings could oblige. That’s not only because it would save them from making a difficult selection decision ahead of Manchester but also it would significantly increase their chances of winning this match and taking a 2-1 series lead into the final Test.

Sport sometimes throws up stories that seem destined to come true. In the case of Jennings, the amount of luck he has had so far suggests that may well be the case here.

The most glaring of his lives came on six when he edged Vernon Philander to third slip and Dean Elgar put the catch down.

Elgar ponders letting Jennings off the hook // Getty Images

He’d inside edged a Philander delivery perilously close to his leg stump on two and did so again on 10.

The 25-year-old was then given out caught behind off Kagiso Rabada on 33 but survived after successfully reviewing the decision.

Oh, and he was…

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